We’re always looking for easy meal upgrades that make cooking satisfying weeknight meals a no-brainer. Sometimes, that means trying a new technique, like pressure cooking; other times, it means introducing a new spice, like ginger. But nothing makes a meal feel instantly more elegant and refined than just a pinch of saffron. The stamens of crocus plants, saffron threads are hand-picked, a little pricy, and totally worth it. Just a pinch lends a unique aroma and irresistible flavor to the 12 recipes below.
1. Saffron Rice Pilaf With Chicken: Chicken and rice is always a comforting dish, but in this case, it gets a little fancier. It’s infused with saffron, then tossed with dried fruits, cashews, and herbs to make for a more complex dish. (via Nutrizonia)
2. Homemade Tagliatelle With Saffron Zucchini: Homemade tagliatelle will change your pasta game forever. Pair it with a flavorful zucchini sauté that will complement but not overwhelm the tender noodles. (via Healthy World Cuisine)
3. Creamy Pork Chops With Saffron Mascarpone Sauce: Boneless pork chops are a go-to weeknight option, thanks to their quick cooking time and big flavor. A creamy sauce helps elevate the dish so it tastes like more than just a quick meal. (via Italian Recipe Book)
4. Pulled Oats Paella: Choose a plant-based protein substitute to make this vegetarian paella. Rice, cooked with saffron, is folded into the protein and a mix of sautéed veggies for a nutritious and tasty meal. (via Cashew Kitchen)
5. Julia Child’s Bouillabaisse: Move over clam chowder — there’s a better soup on the table. A saffron-infused fish stock is the base of this stew made with shrimp, flaky white fish, and mussels. (via Family Style Food)
6. Saffron Pasta With Chicken, Eggplant, and Bell Pepper: Sautéed eggplant and bell pepper add a hearty texture to this pasta recipe. Add some chicken on the side for extra protein, and pine nuts on top for crunch. (via Pinch Me I’m Eating)
7. Whole Grain Persian Jeweled Pilaf: Use a blend of healthy whole grains to make this pilaf. A blend of nuts, fruits, and spices keep each bite interesting. (via At the Corner of Happy and Harried)
8. Moroccan Chicken Tagine: Chicken thighs become meltingly tender when gently cooked in a tagine or Dutch oven. This recipe marinates them before they cook in a blend of aromatics, then adds olives and preserved lemons to the pan along with the meat to flavor it as it cooks. (via White Plate Blank Slate)
9. Butter Beans and Clams in Saffron: Dried butter beans have a creamy texture that’s the perfect base for a homey meal. Serrano ham and Manila clams add a savory, briny flavor to the beans, and help to create a sauce you’ll want to sop up with bread. (via My Kitchen in Spain)
10. Homemade Moussaka: Saffron, red wine, cinnamon, and turmeric flavor this layered Greek dish. It features eggplant, ground turkey, veggies, and a creamy topping of potatoes and cheesy yogurt. (via Simply Sophisticated Cooking)
11. Angel Hair Crab Cakes With Saffron Aioli: Crispy angel hair pasta delicately cradles succulent crab meat to make these seafood cakes. The accompanying saffron aioli is so good, you’ll want to put it on everything. (via Rhubarb and Cod)
12. Baked Saffron and Chorizo Risotto: Getting creamy risotto is easier than you might think — just use your oven. It does the work for you, while chorizo, saffron, and white wine add big flavor. (via My Little Larder)
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